POCA -- A defensive battle ensued in the first half between Poca and Nicholas County, though a steady serving of the Grizzlies' running game ultimately proved the difference Friday night.
Nicholas scored on each of its first two second-half drives, which featured strictly running plays, as the ground game wore out the Poca defense in an eventual 21-14 Grizzlies win at O.O. White Stadium. Nicholas recorded all but five of its 272 offensive yards via rushing behind a powerful, experienced offensive line and the balance of its three top backs.
"We think that our offensive line, we kind of challenged them, but we ran the ball pretty hard," Grizzlies coach Gene Morris said. "I think Wil Mayes, Andy Woods and Tyler Sagraves, all three ran the ball pretty hard tonight. Hats off to the offensive linemen and our three running backs. We knew we had to control it that way and that's just the job we have to do: run the football."
Mayes paced the backs with 21 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns, with many of his yards coming between the tackles.
Sagraves, a returning starter at quarterback, and Woods each finished with 65 rushing yards. Sagraves added a touchdown on a 38-yard scamper in the third quarter.
The Dots led 8-7 at halftime, but the Grizzlies opened the second half with a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive. The Nicholas possession showed Morris' second-half game plan as the Grizzlies did not attempt a pass on either of their first two drives of the second half -- both resulted in touchdowns.
"I thought the whole difference was their line," Poca coach Bob Lemley said. "Their offensive line, defensive line, they're pretty strong and that probably determined the outcome of the game."
On the Grizzlies' first drive of the second half, Mayes carried seven times for 46 yards on the possession, including a 3-yard, go-ahead touchdown.